I’ve been riding le Tour de Femme since 2009 and to me it is so much more than a one day ride. It is a community of heart, compassion and hope. Seeing many of the same people every year, coming to volunteer, sponsor and ride, I wondered why the tour is so special to them. In these series of interviews, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to some of our sponsors, riders, volunteers and finding answers to some of the burning questions.
Motorcycles and bicycles go together, right? We see the "motos" in the big stage races with camera crew, spare tires, but it is unusual to have motorcycles on a charity ride. Thanks to Nick and his friends, motorcycles are a part of the le Tour de Femme event, providing physical and mental support for us. They even provide "road guard" services as we ride through intersections and are more than willing to call a sag vehicle in the event of a flat or other mechanical issue.
Riding motorcycles slow takes skill and strength. Think about it--when cyclists start and stop, we work harder to "hold our line" and stay upright on bikes that weigh a fraction of our body weight. Once we are moving, easy balance comes at 5mph because we have less overall weight to manage. With motorcycles, it is the opposite. The bike weighs far more than the rider, so it takes enormous core strength and concentration to balance at slow speeds. Easy balance is definitely not achieved at 15mph and yet our motorcycle guardians do this for us with smiles and encouragement.
When Nick started volunteering, he did it for the joy of giving back. In the early years, he became a legend after he "educated" a young driver and his friends who were running cyclists off the road for entertainment. The following year, Nick's wife joined him as a volunteer at the event. Then, the unthinkable happened. She was diagnosed with colon cancer and passed away shortly thereafter. Nick still wears the t-shirt that Ron Hamner had made for the motorcycle group to commemorate her.
He jokes that what keeps him coming back is "habit", but I think he likes the community as much as we do. Thanks Nick, for making us your habit.
Nick Blalock, a volunteer for le Tour de Femme talks about his experience riding his motorcycle to support the bicyclists and why he keeps coming back.